We recently attended SMi’s inaugural Milsatcom Latin America conference in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and found the country to be the perfect location for SMi’s first foray into the region. Brazil is one of the most forward facing countries in the region in space leadership and attendees were able to catch a glimpse of the country’s planning and innovation as it ventures into the Satcom arena.
Most notable was Brazil’s current planning to build a Space Operations Center and the Geostationary Defense and Strategic Communications (SGDC) constellation fitted with both Ka- and X-band transponders. The five X-band transponders will cover all of South America as well neighboring maritime routes. With the first satellite in the constellation reportedly already filled to capacity, even before its launch, the Brazilian Ministry of Defense may need to look at commercial Satcom to augment its coverage – at least for the short term – sooner rather than later.
Brazil, and Latin America, is ahead of the curve with regards to the utilization of the X-band frequency. In fact, Brazil already trusts and regularly turns to X-band as a viable option to help meet the unique characteristics of the region. Brazilians enjoy one of the most vibrant economies in the region, supported by tremendous growth in the country’s energy (oil and gas) industry. With their unique geography and terrain in the Amazon and the large overlapping borders, the country is making tremendous strides in raising its global visibility with major world events like the recent World Cup and the upcoming Summer Olympics and Satcom has been an integral part of the security programs like SISFRON for border security.
Other Key Takeaways and Observations from Milsatcom Latin America:
- Brazil has a well developed strategy for meeting its military and government communications needs, choosing X-band as the best option to deliver reliable, robust and resilient capability across demanding geographic and climate conditions.
- Latin America, as a whole, is very aware of the distinct virtues of X-band as evidenced by the fact that it is identified as a key component in many nations’ Milsatcom programs.
- Highlighting the importance of Milsatcom in the area, the conference was heavily attended by Brazilian government officials. Neighboring countries had a much lower representation at the event.
- The U.S. government did not have a meaningful presence at the event, which would have provided an interesting dynamic to have an official representation.
As a company, XTAR was very pleased to participate in the first Milsatcom Latin America. Historically, XTAR has been ahead of the curve as early adopters of the Hosted Payload model, notably: XTAR-EUR hosts a NATO-configurable payload designed to support an anchor European customer and XTAR-LANT is a hosted payload on SPAINSAT.
As the industry continues to look to future orbital position development through another hosted payload scenario, anchor customer or bespoke customer on a payload, we will continue to look to Latin America as a ready and able partner. The potential to continue to offer interim and long-term solutions and provide highly effective coverage to Latin American governments will make this region a business rich environment for our industry for years to come.